Born in 1958 in Southern Germany, Berlin-based painter Sati Zech attended the Berlin University of Fine Arts from 1982-1987, studying sculpture and drawing under Lothar Fischer. For nearly a decade, Zech lectured at the Academy for Fine Arts in Marrakesh and also taught at the Weissensee School of Fine Arts in Berlin.
Although technically referred to as paintings, the works in her vibrant series titled Bollenarbeit—a reference to the vineyard-covered hills and low mountains found in the region where Zech was born—float between paintings, drawings, and sculptures. While the sumptuous displays of thick, bright red mounds of paint applied on naked strips of linen are visually arresting, it is the process Zech employs to create these cloth fields of intense color concentration that is most remarkable.
After tearing apart sheets of canvas, Zech assembles the strips—unraveled edges and all—in horizontal and vertical rows. Sometimes overlapping them, she joins the rows with white archival glue, bits of puttylike plaster and thread before or after applying viscous domes and dots of red paint across the cloth’s surface. The result evokes a pleasantly tattered collage, its crimson fingerprint-like shapes spreading like landscape across the sheet’s ragged lines and seams.
While the acts of layering, tearing, gluing and sewing produce works that are reminiscent of domestic handicraft, and the scarlet mounds of paint hint at historically ritualistic mark-making, Zech’s dynamic creations defy category. They inhabit a world of their own.
Zech has won various scholarships and awards, the most recent being the Franz Joseph Speigler Prize in 2009. She also participated in a Yaddo Residency in April 2009. Zech made her stateside debut in 2008 at Howard Scott Gallery in New York City but has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows, as well as art fairs, in cities such as Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Salzburg, Zurich and Bilbao since 1985.